Applications / Job market

What is a Creative Career?

The University of Warwick’s  Creative Industries event  takes place tomorrow evening. It may provide the insight and inspiration to help you take that first step towards a career in publishing, writing, television or any of the other exciting industries in this sector.

Creativity…relating to or involving the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. It takes different forms and is a strength that is prized in many sectors, industries and professions: creativity leads to innovation and new ways of approaching things. If you consider you are ‘creative’ and are seeking a ‘creative career’ then keep an open mind and consider how you could use your talents in the workplace – any workplace!

In 2015 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport defined the creative industries as:

‘those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation  through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property’

The DCMS then goes on to recognise 9 creative sectors – which are:

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Design: product, graphic and fashion design
  • Film, TV. Radio and Photography
  • IT, Software and Computer Services
  • Publishing
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries
  • Music, Performing and Visual Arts

Creative careers require creative job seekers and the sooner you can start to get involved in the field you are interested in, the better.

All of the careers are much sought after and therefore highly competitive. Routes into work in the industries featured are often unstructured and will vary for each individual.

If you are lucky enough to have contacts in the business then use them. If not, digital and social media make networking within the industry much more accessible but it is important to be looking in the right places and meeting the right people. You need to be resilient and determined. Stay connected, use Twitter, use LinkedIn and use networks like Hiive and TV Watercooler.

Read the industry press (like PR Week and CampaignLive, and Broadcast. Find stories about employers on news websites, follow relevant people of organisation – those whose work you admire and those who are innovative.

Find internships and jobs using employer websites, careers databases such as MyAdvantage and others like Prospects, Target Jobs and GRB. Find out where people in the sector look for jobs!

Try speculative approaches for work experience to those organisations you like the look of, but have no jobs advertised. Approach them with a well-prepared CV and cover message to pitch to the employer: craft it well and use evidence of skills and motivation.

Professional Associations (such as the Chartered Institutes) are useful and can help you find employers.  Some associations offer student membership and Directories like Guardian Media Guide are helpful. The Publishers Association has a really useful website, for example.

If you are keen to earn a good salary and have a stable career path, then this is more evident in some creative work than others. Long-term permanent jobs do not really exist for performers – such as musicians and actors (apart from the soaps, but even then your character could be killed off without warning) Permanent, full time contracts are much more likely to be found in Web Design, Gaming, Marketing and the Education sector.

If you do feel the need to perform, or create art and literature, your working hours and income is likely to be short-term and unpredictable. Most people with these creative instincts will be Freelance/Self-employed and used to pitching for work and being flexible in terms of location, hours and may even have to adapt their creative skills to deliver commission sales as requested. Alternatively, many ‘creatives’ will work in a stable, paid job in another sector and develop their Freelance career independently. Others will adapt to use their creative skills in other ways, working in commercial marketing departments, or communication teams for example.

In fact, using your creativity in a different sector is a realistic option. Retail companies rely on visual merchandising to sell their products, both in the store and on-line. In the IT sector, there’s web development, software testing and game design. And most large, commercial multi-nationals have a Marketing and/or Communications department.

So, keep an open mind about where your creative career may be, and continue to be creative!



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